The Colt's injury report looked unusually short today until I remembered that's because most guys have been placed on IR. One piece of good news however, and something that will help further shorten the list, is the return of Joesph Addai.
Addai's presence in the lineup will be a major boost, but don't expect to see him used in traditional ways.
There is no doubt that Addai will be a big part of the Colts game plan. Even though the Colts have so few playmakers that anybody and everybody is welcome, the offense will be particularly excited to see Addai given his deep football knowledge, his versatility and his blocking ability.
Still, Addai has been out the last 8 weeks with a stinger to his arm/neck. While cleared by the medical staff, it
remains to be seen how well Addai will be able to hold onto the ball, especially if his shoulder takes a direct hit.
(A stinger damages the nerve endings in the arm and essentially deadens the feeling in and limits the ability to control one's arm).
Furthermore, Donald Brown had the best game of his career last week coming off a monster 129 yard performance on only 14 carries. Add in the fact that Oakland'd defense line is mean and nasty and throwing Addai into the mix - at least early on - might not be the best recipe for success.
With Donald Brown finally coming around and Addai still untested, the Colts will look to use Addai in different ways.
Addai is one of the most complete backs in the league and an underrated receiver out of the backfield. Through his first 6 games, Addai caught 18 balls for 118 yards and is a great check-down option for Peyton. This week against Oakland, his role receiving could be more as a threat and less as a last resort.
With Collie out, the Colt's passing game takes on a much different look. Collie allowed the Colts to spread the field. More importantly he took attention away from Reggie Wayne and allowed the Colts to set up underneath screen plays to Wayne and Garcon.
Instead, look for the Colts to use Addai as that threat. With Brown's breakout game, it won't be a surprise to see two-back shot sets. Such a formation will allow the Colts to keep both backs on the field and keep the Raiders guessing as to which runner will get the carry. More importantly it will open up the passing game and allow Addai to stay in and block or give him the ability to make plays in the flat where he won't take as many direct hits.
Of course it will be great to see Addai back running the ball, but with the emergence (1 game breakout) of Downfield Donald Brown, Addai's role in the passing game - at least until he feels comfortable and can firmly hold onto the ball - might be more beneficial and keep the Raiders on their toes.
Look for the Colts to use Addai in a lot of different looks and sets - including split out wide - and to move him around the field.